Written by Cam Benty Photography by the Author and courtesy of Vortech Superchargers
The release of the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats back in 2016 reset the bar for performance in the last decade. In a horsepower war that was pretty much over before it started, Hellcats were the fastest muscle cars ever built en masse. But they also came with such a hefty price tag that the well heeled—or those looking to mortgage the house—could purchase.
Enter Vortech Superchargers
Lucky for the rest of us, Vortech has created a bolt-on supercharger kit for 2015-2020 Dodge Challenger/Charger that delivers 23 more horsepower than those Hellcat’s 707HP, for a lot less cash! Best of all, with this upgrade you can still retain great around-town drivability and meet the emissions requirements of your state—any US state. That is truly impressive.
Vortech has made a science of building supercharger systems that deliver amazing horsepower and torque figures while retaining all other vehicle systems. Of course, racers can further benefit from this horsepower breakthrough by stripping out the comfort items and making the best of the power-to-weight formula.
The new Vortech supercharger system does not require an engineering degree to install. We dropped our system between the fenderwells of a 2019 Charger in about 10 hours. In addition, Vortech breaks from the supercharger pack with a highly efficient water-to-air intake charge cooler that helps the Vortech system achieve its amazing power output. While the Vortech kit takes a bit more to install, the benefits are well worth the time as the dyno sheets attest.
Vortech offers a pair of supercharger kits for these cars—one for the 6.4-liter Challenger and one for the Charger. Each kit comes complete with a V-3 Si Trim Vortech supercharger and all of the parts necessary for installation. Vortech touts, “in most cases the increase in torque of 30-35 percent and horsepower between 35-40 percent can be expected with the boost levels specified by Vortech Engineering.”
From our seat-of-the-pants, first-person experience, we can tell you that the power comes on hard and smooth with very little supercharger-based noise other than the giddy noises of joy made by the vehicle occupants. It’s really that strong!
Vortech notes that before a customer purchases a kit, they should make sure that the vehicle’s engine is in good working condition with stock compression ratio pistons and fresh spark plugs (non-Platinum advised). In terms of future maintenance, the plugs should be changed every 15,000 miles and engine oil freshened every 3,000 miles to remove the potential for oil contamination. The Vortech V-3 supercharger requires its first oil change at 2,500 miles and then every 7,500 after that. Be sure to use Vortech’s special supercharger lubricant, which is available directly through Vortech or its authorized dealers.
Race Ready Design and Durability
In terms of key features that make the Vortech supercharger kit unique, a couple of things stand out.
#1: Engineering: The kit is well engineered and fits nicely into the Charger engine compartment with very little need to alter the various factory components and structures under the hood. While some systems cause you to move components and cut the factory tubing, that’s not the case here. This system is the least invasive of the kits we’ve experienced.
#2: Quality: The components delivered in the kit are very high quality. From the bracketing that holds the supercharger belt system to the water-to-air intercooler plumbing system, no step was short changed as these parts are built for the long haul. Not surprisingly, the system is covered by a one-year, unlimited-mile warranty that increases to a three-year, unlimited-mile warranty after you mail in your warranty card information.
#3: Silent operation: In our testing experience, this is the quietest supercharger system we’ve driven. Whether it’s idling with the hood up or driving down the street, this supercharger quietly gets the job done—no roar under load and very little whine. This is because of the well-constructed, helical gear system and high-quality bearings used within the supercharger. For every customer that wants a quiet blower, there is always one who wants a loud one. To address those who require those classic supercharger sounds, Vortech has you covered with the optional Heritage Gear set.
Elephant Power Solutions
Throughout modern Mopar history, Dodge owners know the challenge of recalibrating their vehicle’s Power Control Modules (PCM) unit to make aftermarket upgrades compatible with the highly sophisticated engine computer system. No American manufacturer has protected their vehicles from modification more overtly than Chrysler, making Vortech’s “work around” even more impressive.
Leave it to the engineers at Vortech to come up with the easiest way yet to reprogram the PCM on late model Challengers and Chargers. Simply remove the PCM from your car after unclipping the two wiring loom connections. Next take out the Vortech mailing envelope, insert the PCM into the protective packaging and drop it in the overnight delivery service. From here, Livernois Motorsports & Engineering magically reprograms your car’s PCM and returns it to you ready to go. This whole process usually takes less than a week—including the time needed for shipping it there and back. That means it should not take more than one weekend push your Mopar from average to awesome.
Follow along as we highlight the key features to the installation of the newest Vortech supercharger kit on our 2019 Dodge Charger (Challenger install is very similar). For complete instructions, go online to the www.vortechsuperchargers.com website or call their highly trained tech department at (805) 247-0226.